As a medically qualified psychotherapist, many of the patients I have seen over the years have complained that psychiatric terminology can be confusing, or seem like a different language. Some psychiatrists make different diagnoses from others, which can result in conflicting treatment recommendations. Some patients have also had complicated experiences with prescribed medication and are unsure as to whether this is the right approach for them.
It can be helpful to work with a psychiatrist who is able to think with you about questions such as,“Will taking medication numb my feelings? Will it impact on my ability to engage with psychotherapy?, or “What does it mean that I have been told that I have a personality disorder?”. Engaging in psychotherapy with a clinician who is fluent in the language and practices of traditional psychiatry can help to answer questions regarding the interface between a talking approach and other psychiatric treatments. Although my approach is to prioritise a talking approach whenever possible, I also recognise that for some patients, a blended approach, using both medication and psychotherapy is needed.
Many physical problems such as diabetes or hormonal disorders can have profound effects upon our emotional wellbeing, as can many of the medications used to treat them. Disorders that affect the nervous system such as epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis can have particularly disabling effects upon mental health. In addition, the burden of managing the challenges imposed by physical disorders can in itself affect our self-esteem, our sense of self-worth and our relationships.
For these reasons, for those who are suffering from physical disorders, it can be helpful to engage in psychotherapy with a medically trained professional who understands the complexity of the relationship between physical conditions and the mind.
If you are suffering from a physical illness but also think that psychotherapy may be helpful for you, I am happy to discuss this with you by phone.